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Dune 2's Biggest Changes To Paul, Chani And The Atreides Family Tree

Contains spoilers for "Dune: Part Two" and potentially "Dune: Part Three"

Have you caught your breath and cleaned the spice out of your ears yet? "Dune: Part Two" has finally burst onto the screens like an agitated sandworm, and the hype is undeniably real. This is one heady blockbuster, right? With different titles, prophecies, and houses, it's a wonder director Denis Villeneuve was able to squeeze all of Frank Herbert's epic sci-fi story into two films.

The truth is, though, he didn't. Not quite, anyway. As intricate and expansive as "Part Two" might be, there are still some Shai-Hulud-sized beats that didn't make it into the closing second half of the director's Arrakis-based adventure, the biggest of which involves Paul's sister, Alia Atreides (played by Anya Taylor-Joy in a cameo performance).

Thanks to her mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), taking a drink from The Water of Life, the sister of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is a constant presence, even though she still isn't even born by the end of the film. It's a big departure from the book, given that in Herbert's original story, Alia was born eight months after her father, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), died. She's not the only new addition to the Atreides dynasty to arrive in the novel either, as, unlike "Dune: Part Two," the book shows that Paul and his local love Chani (Zendaya) also have a child of their own until things take a tragic turn in the battle against the Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken).

Another Atreides family loss could've made Dune: Part Two way darker

Besides his sister Alia being far more absent in "Dune: Part Two," Paul Atreides' son is also missing from Denis Villeneuve's epic follow-up film. In Frank Herbert's book, Paul and Jessica's time among the Fremen spans years, whereas the film glosses over how much time has passed since "Dune: Part One." During this period, his relationship with Chani becomes much more serious, which results in them having a baby boy they name Leto II. Tragedy strikes, though, when, in the final effort to bring down Paul and his rebellion, the Emperor attacks a seitch, killing the infant before the final battle that sees Shaddam dethroned. 

As far as losses go, the "Dune: Part Two" body count isn't as big or impactful as the previous film's, where we saw the deaths of Duke Leto and Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa), but both tragedies would pale in comparison to what would have happened if Villeneuve kept the death of Paul and Chani's young son in the mix. Thankfully, there are enough power struggles at play to keep the tension high leading into the film's third act without killing children.

But even here, Villeneuve switches things up again. Besides Fremen taking ships off-world to continue their leader's mission, we get a glimpse at the love triangle that is formed and then fractured in a way that might surprise fans of Herbert's original story. It could make for an exciting bit of friction if and when the anticipated third film is made.

Chani is more committed in the novel than the end of Dune: Part Two

In an expertly handled gut punch in "Dune: Part Two," the closing scene isn't with Paul as the leader of a new era. Instead, it's with the woman he seemingly abandoned, calling herself a sandworm-sized Uber and heading off into the desert alone. With this powerful image of Chani ditching Paul, Villeneuve may have set up a more complicated issue for the ex-couple and his new bride-to-be, Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh). What is clear is that whenever he returns to Arrakis to adapt "Dune: Messiah," the director will take an alternative route to line up with Herbert's original follow-up.

In Herbert's sequel, "Dune: Messiah," the pair are seemingly on much better terms than they are by the end of "Dune," with Chani staying with Paul as his concubine while he's married to Irulan. Understandably, there's friction as Irulan tries to maintain her place in the new Atreides era of rule, but at least Chani is still around. What, then, will Villeneuve's take on the second book look like? Will Paul have to track down his true love and tell Chani that "it's just a work thing and that it doesn't mean anything?" From there, could things realign with "Messiah" and see Irulan as the deceptive and devious wife to the Emperor that we know she'll become? We'll find out if and when "Dune: Messiah" eventually arrives in theaters.